MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Grand strand businesses are preparing for how the coronavirus could impact them.
It’s almost spring, when many tourists come to Myrtle Beach as the weather gets warmer, but this spring could be much quieter as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.
“We will have additional visitors who will still make a very personal decision to come to the Grand Strand,” said Karen Riordan, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “That is their decision to make. We’re not discouraging that, we’re not encouraging that. That’s not our place to do that at this stage.”
As the rise of the coronavirus matches the annual start of Myrtle Beach’s busy season, the chamber of commerce is helping educate residents, tourists and businesses about the threat.
“We are going to see more people from a geographical spread than a smaller community,” said Dr. Philip Dulberger, chief medical officer at Tidelands Health. “As that happens, that puts us in an area potentially at risk to have more of an opportunity for the pathogen to be introduced.”
The chamber held an educational forum Monday afternoon to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on industries along the Grand Strand. It was actually moved to a virtual livestream to prevent a large physical crowd.
Riordan says business owners must decide what precautions should be taken.
“Some of these businesses have three employees,” she said. “Some have 50. Some have 500. Some are open and deal with the public every day, like retail or restaurants. Others do not and are able to make different decisions because their employees are able to do more teleworking.”
Dr. Dulberger says what’s most important to remember now is increasing precautions like hand washing and cleaning hard surfaces, especially if you are or around someone over 65 or with a weakened immune system.
“I would encourage, first and foremost, communication is very important,” said Dr. Dulberger. “Get the facts out, minimize misinformation, which creates more confusion and, if I could suggest anything from the medical community, remain calm.”